According to a study by the Centre for Contact Lens Research at the University of Waterloo, 40% of people who wear contact lenses don’t replace their pair beyond the replacement schedule. Moreover, some of them don’t even know that their contact lenses have an expiration date.
As a contact lens wearer, you must be extra vigilant when using contact lenses. Based on the same research, even eye professionals give out wrong information about the prescribed expiration dates of the contact lenses.
In line with that, 52% of the people who wear a two-week replacement silicone hydrogel lens wear it beyond the prescribed time. Contact lenses get exposed to your eyes’ fluids, so naturally, the materials of contact lenses deteriorate over time. As a result, your eyes are prone to risks if you don’t change your contact lenses regularly.
Eye complications such as dry eyes where your cornea loses sensation can happen to you. Eye infections can also start happening, and this causes keratitis or the infection of the cornea. Lastly, the usage of contact lenses beyond the prescription date can lead to corneal ulcers. These are open sores on the outer layer of your cornea wherein you feel a burning and painful sensation.
It’s easy to sustain proper hygiene when it comes to your contact lenses. Below are some telltale signs you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Cloudy lenses
Make sure to examine your lenses on a regular basis. If it’s not as clear as the first time you bought it, then your lenses might have bacteria already.
To check if you have cloudy lenses, take them out of your eyes and rinse it with the saline solution. Put them back on to check if it’s time to say goodbye to this pair.
2. The feeling of discomfort and irritation
If you’re experiencing something unusual with your contact lenses, then there’s something wrong. It’s natural for contact lenses to stick dirt and dust, so never forget to clean it with the solution.
Don’t forget to look for scratches as well, as any damage to the lenses already tells you to change them.
3. Permanent dents or bends on the contact lenses
Damaged contact lenses in any shape or form are a portal to the bacteria to pass through. Instead of protecting your eyes, it only allows unwanted substances or material at your cornea and other eye parts.
4. No UV protection
Older brands of contact lenses don’t have UV protection. If you’ve had that pair for a fairly long time, then most probably, your lenses are not protecting your eyes from UV.
Moreover, your eyes may not be getting enough oxygen because of the material of old contact lenses. Newer ones have been adjusted and modified to allow the cornea to breathe and protect the eyes from sun damage. If not prevented, your eyes can suffer from cataracts, macular degeneration, and corneal diseases.
5. Reaching prescription expiration date
Before getting a pair of contact lenses, you should go to an eye specialist to know the right type of contact lenses for you. There are different prescription expiration dates for different types of contact lenses:
• Daily disposable lenses should be discarded after you wear it for a single day.
• Disposable lenses are to be replaced every two weeks.
• Frequent replacement lenses prescribed lifespan is either until every month or every quarter.
• Traditional (reusable) lenses should be changed every six months or longer.
Before you reach the expiration date of your contact lenses, get a new one already. Ultimately, follow what’s prescribed to you.
If you’ve ticked one or a few from the checklist, then it’s time that you replace your contact lenses immediately. At the end of the day, you should make your utmost effort to keep your pair of contact lenses at its optimum shape.
Also, take note of the different types of lenses and their solutions and the materials that were used in making them. You might be allergic or irritated to some of these materials, so it’s best to consult a professional first.